5: RAFAEL NADAL
The famous Spaniard is not only an incredibly gifted tennis player; he’s also an immensely hard worker.
Having battled numerous injuries in his career it’s a wonder that Nadal has managed to achieve the success he has. But it doesn’t take a genius to see that it’s only through the determination to succeed and the will to keep up with the likes of long-time rival Roger Federer that it’s been possible.
At only 27-years-of-age it’s fair to say Nadal still has plenty to give, and if the development of his career thus far- 13 grand slams, an Olympic gold and widely considered the greatest clay court player of all time- is anything to go by, then he will most certainly have cemented his place in tennis history by the time he is done.
4: LEBRON JAMES
The most complete player since the legendary Michael Jordan, James is known as the ‘King’ for a reason.
A perennial MVP contender and an extremely dedicated professional to boot, the Miami Heat star rarely makes headlines for anything other than being the best at what he does: bossing the court.
James combines great athleticism with extraordinary consistency- he’s netted 10 or more points in over 500 games in a row- to a point where it’s not a disturbing notion to wonder if he’s not paying the opposition to let him dominate them.
Of course being nearly 7ft tall does have its advantages as well.
3: USAIN BOLT
This man’s inclusion in this list was a given the day he became the fastest guy to have ever lived.
That’s not the fastest man in Europe, not the fastest man in the world… it’s the fastest man to have ever walked the face of the earth. When you can truly grasp the immensity of that feat then you realise why Usain Bolt is a specimen to be admired.
The Jamaican would never be where he is without having trained to a level where he can make the majority of other Olympians- who are also incredibly fast- look practically normal.
Six time Olympic gold medallist and eight time world champion, there isn’t much else he can do that will scream ‘I am superior’ anymore than his victories already have.
Comparing him to an animal might not sound too morally generous, but he can’t really be placed in the same box of normality that surrounds the rest of us either.
Plus his surname is Bolt… Life really isn’t fair sometimes.
2: FLOYD MAYWEATHER
Despite being almost universally disliked for his arrogance and flashy attitude, those who really know their boxing can understand that Mayweather’s work-rate is as high, if not higher, than any other athlete on the planet.
Notorious for his tremendous work ethos in the gym and his complete dedication when it comes to preparing for fights, there is a reason his record is 45-0, and it isn’t just because he was born with a gift.
The American superstar is a five-division world champion, and has yet to turn up to a bout looking anything less than in the shape of his life.
He brings a new meaning to the phrase ‘you get out what you put in.’
… If only he was a pleasant individual
1: CRISTIANO RONALDO
Who can remember the scrawny, spotty kid who turned up in Manchester in 2003?
To say Ronaldo’s ascension to becoming arguably the best footballer on the planet is the result of a little extra effort is a definite understatement.
Not only has the Portuguese maestro spent his entire career honing himself into the perfect footballing machine, but he’s been incredibly efficient in ensuring that he is always in the best physical shape he can be. Not simply the elite footballer, but a masterfully elite athlete overall.
The transformation is mind-boggling and, were it not for one Lionel Messi, Ronaldo would be some way away from any other footballer on the planet in terms of ability.
Great in the air, remarkably fleet of foot and now chiselled like a Greek god, he is the personification of power and ambition.